Women in Politics

This comes to you from Susan Otcenas as she muses on what her mother taught her.

When I was a child, I was raised to believe women could do and be whatever they wanted. My mom went to college and became a chemist when I was in middle school. It seemed a given that my sisters and I would go to college. And we did. We started businesses; one a restaurant, another an exercise physiology practice, and me an apparel company. Of the 4 of us, only 2 had children.

In short, it seemed to me that our generation (we are aged 44-57) could have limitless possibilities. We wouldn’t be bound by traditions and expectations about what women should be or do, or how we should present ourselves. And it seemed to me unthinkable that despite evidence to the contrary, women would be elected to the highest offices in the country, as they have been in nearly every other first world democracy. It was just a matter of time.

And yet, here we are. I’m 50 years old and a woman has held neither the presidency nor the vice presidency. Arguably the brightest, most experienced, well-spoken, best prepared and most thoughtful candidate has now been forced out of the race. And our “choice” in the next election will come down to voting for a straight white male septuagenarian (the shouting magical thinker with a weak ticker or the bumbling stumbling handsy guy with a weak mind) over the demented immoral incompetent straight white male septuagenarian currently occupying the space.

And so, at 50 years old, I’ve resigned myself to what I’ve known in my heart all along; we women have been sold a lie. And that too many of our “sisters” are complicit in perpetuating the status quo. Apparently strong, smart capable women will be allowed only so much leeway before we tear them down for being too strong, too smart, too capable. Elizabeth Warren’s story is one that every strong smart capable woman understands. How hard it is to maintain a balance and a public demeanor that doesn’t appear too “overbearing”, too “strident”, too “bossy”, while still needing to get (and getting) shit done.

I’m tired. And discouraged.

Consider this before you cast your next vote.

Does a Turtle Know

After 20 years in captivity, a loggerhead turtle was released into the sea. She thrived. She swam from Cape Town, South Africa to Australia, her birthplace.

Twenty years ago, “Yoshi arrived at Cape Town’s Two Oceans Aquarium after crew on a Japanese fishing boat found her with a damaged shell.” This was a bigger project for Two Oceans Aquarium. It had only been open for a couple of years. They took on the turtle and kept her. They learned enough that they took on other turtles to rehabilitate.

Well, read the rest here. It’s fascinating.

Unanswered it how the turtle knew where to go. How to communicate with other turtles. They did “train” her to swim longer distances and she ended up spending year or so in the area. But then she took off for Australia.

What Can You Do?

There are people that do amazing things. Like “racing” from San Franciso to Portland, route chosen by the rider. Like eating from his garden and what he could forage for a year. Like a team of six guys taking a raft trip to prove Kon Tiki could go from South America to Polynesia. Today I’ve run across a new person doing something incredible, walking the Pacific Crest Trail, starting when he was 400 pounds.

Yes, 400 pounds. He felt he needed to do something to get his life back in control. Here are a few selected videos for you to find out for yourself.

There are 95 videos including lots of adventures. He never did hit his goal of 200-pound loss. Instead, he hiked the entire PCT at 300 pounds or more. That is epic.

Books vs eBooks

They claim the content is

This is intended as satire. The author is not yet ancient, cynical, technophobic, or curmudgeonly. He’s actually a pretty pleasant guy who enjoys many modern conveniences. 

David Ferrer

but don’t believe it. There are lots of reasons why books are better than ebooks. Read about it in 50 Reasons Real Books are Vastly Superior to Ebooks.

My favorites include Marginalia, Decoration, Used Books, and well, you get the idea. There are lots more favorites to have.

Too Quiet, Too Long

I have been both. Brave women speak out. Listen. Especially the ending.

Since the Paris Agreement, global banks have invested 1.9 trillion U.S. dollars in fossil fuels. One hundred companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions. The G20 countries account for almost 80% of total emissions. The richest 10% of the world’s population produce half of our CO2 emissions, while the poorest 50% account for just one-tenth. We indeed have some work to do, but some more than others.

Greta Thunberg

Don’t believe politicians when they say the emerging countries are going to pollute the world as they develop.

Thrillers By Type

This article is from Malcolm Gladwell (Blink, Talking to Strangers, others) on the 60 or 70 thrillers he reads annually. He divides them into four genres.

“A Western takes place in “a world in which there is no law and order, and a man shows up and imposes, personally, law and order on the territory, the community.” An Eastern is “a story where there is law and order, so there are institutions of justice, but they have been subverted by people from within.” In a Northern, “law and order exists, and law and order is morally righteous, the system works.” (A prime example is, of course, Law and Order.) A Southern is “where the entire apparatus is corrupt, and where the reformer is not an insider but an outsider.”

There’s more of course. Read about it here

Sourdough Starter

Water, flour, salt. That is all it takes from you to have a loaf of bread. There are also microorganisms. From wheat, air, or your skin, one or more of them have wild yeast and lactobacilli. Or maybe all of them have both of them. They do the big work of transforming a glop of water and flour into what I’ll be eating in a couple of hours.

First Loaf #bakewithjack

I learned about how to do this from #bakewithjack. He, Jack, has a new bit on baking each Thursday. A bunch of them have been on sourdough. Including how to make a starter, what you see in the jar. He specifies the wholemeal rye as the source flour to use. But really, any flour will do. That video was my, ahem, starter in sourdough baking. His method is pretty fool-proof and it doesn’t waste anything – the cut the starter in half, pour the rest down the drain. That always put me off. Feeding a starter, throwing away half? What a waste! There’s another method also from Mike Greenfield about just eating the starter. That’s what scallion pancakes are for. But I prefer Jack’s method unless I’m hungry.

To get started you can watch Beginners Sourdough Loaf, Start to Finish. That covers everything. You’re referred to the “how to make starter” video. But everything else is shown in that video.

I’m now going through the pain of waiting for the loaf to cool so I can eat it. It’s just a couple of hours. I think I’ll watch 15 Mistakes Most Beginners Make. It’s from Mike Greenfield’s Pro Home Cooks. He has scads of videos on cooking. Great stuff.

Or maybe read about sourdough on Wikipedia. Another rabbit hole to go down into.